Six days until the Gamecocks play East Carolina and we find out if the pre-season hype is reality. Time will tell, right? I have had time on the brain after getting an email yesterday from the Ball Watch Company. They’re the makers of the watches that have been the standard for accurate time ever since the heyday of railroads when being on time could literally be the difference between life and death. Think the recent movie “Unstoppable.” Ball watches are the source of the saying about “being on the ball.” Somebody who is “on the ball” is with it, on time, and a hard worker.
I’m a fan of satellite music and get caught between listening to the 60’s and 70’s so I usually split the difference and listen to “The Blend” or “The Bridge” stations because they include my favorite songs from both decades. Here’s my theory. I’m fairly convinced that the type of music that we like is connected to when we were in high school all the way through our sophomore year in college. Little wonder that I’m a fan of the Mama’s & Papa’s, the Beach Boys, The Beatles, Three Dog Night, the Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Carole King, The Who, and, especially, the Moody Blues, who I repeatedly listened to as I read and reread The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Whenever I think of Middle Earth I can’t help but think of the mystical sounds of the Moody Blues.
Here I am more than a bit past middle age, and life’s bookends are staring me square in the face. I have great hope that I’m aligned with God’s future for me but I can see plenty of potential pitfalls. I can look back at my youth and see a bumpy mixture of triumphs and wounds, too, from first loves gone wrong to broken bones, winning seasons to a Charlie Brownish missing of the ball. It’s hard at whatever age to keep one’s mind off the before’s and after’s of life.
This is when I’m helped by thinking about time from God’s eternal perspective. With God, age is always ageless. There is always immediacy! For God, time is always kairos not chronos. “Kairos” is one ancient Greek word for time that defines time by the content of the moment. “Chronos” defines time in the manner that I mostly use. By definition “chronos” time is spatial, chronological, and linear. Chronological time views things as “fifteen minutes UNTIL something,” or “thirty minutes AFTER something.” Conversely, “kairos” time is more digital than spatial. It is defined by the God-moment, the experience rather than by what comes before or after.
It’s not so great that I like clock faces that are more “chronos” than “kairos,” even though my phone and TV time displays flash the time of the moment in a great “kairos” way. “Chronos” time is antithetical to living in the moment. If our favorite music can be defined by the content of certain life stages, may we dare give another listen to the sounds around us right now and hear God? My prayer is that I will grasp God’s “kairos,” this critical moment that God offers as a gift sublimely called “the present.” There just might be enough God-presence in the sounds of a loved one’s sigh, the arthritic creaking of our own joints threatening us with our own mortality and hopeful maturity, or the sweet-baby noise unintelligible yet profoundly clear in their message of love.
Here’s the message for me: Time is of the essence, literally! As much as I find Ball watches and their spatial “chronos” faces both familiar and comfortable, and I spatially can’t wait until next Saturday’s football game, I pledge this week to think and live digital in God’s “kairos” time. Time will tell!